Thursday, December 31, 2020

SMART goals 2020

in which our plucky heroine looks back at things accomplished...

Every year for the last seven I have logged each month what progress I make in these quantifiable categories, and I expect to continue this practice as long as life and breath allow; it serves me well. At any time I can look back and see that my time has not been wasted, however much it may feel that way. Would that there was some way to make note of and keep records of less tangible progress, that there was some way to keep track of days when kindness and calmness held fast in the face of difficulty, when my strong stubborness allowed for persistence in the teeth of isolation... For such a rough year as 2020 has been, and it isn't over yet, there were still things made, things repaired and unneeded things discarded... I made it through so far, fixed some of the scarred places in my back story, and have hopefully managed to discard a bit of the useless internal negative commentary. At this point I have no idea what to think about 2021, save continuing to do my best effort at shifting the balance towards goodness, kindness, and creativity... if you are reading these words, huzzah for us, we made it through so far!

SMART goals challenge 2020
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1card for Berabetter light in workroombag to Goodwill
2Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3horses blousebutton replacedbag to Goodwill
4Wanda ringattach bench pinbag to Goodwill
5charter #1new turtleneck necklinepaper recycling
6Barbara mittscuff repairfrontyard prunings
7wool capeletrestrung grey beadsbag to Goodwill
8wontonsdial tone regainedpaper recycling
915 valentine prints
bra elastics renewedmetal recycling
10one pelican headArlys circletyard waste bin
112nd pelican headAn Tir pennantpaper recycling
12rubakha trim printed leggings patternyard waste bin
13leggings trim printedKarla sewing machinerecycle bin
14black/grey shirtfig trees planted
dead Bernina
1510 pattern hangersnew worms for binfive pounds
16charter #1back corner fenceyard waste bin
17grey leggingspantry reorganisedyard waste bin
18candied pomelo peelcorned beef in freezerpea plants shared
19blood orange marmalade repair dainty baglong grass backyard
20cara cara marmaladefruit tree pruningyard waste bin
21three drawingspeas plantedrecycling bin
22new ricebag casesperiodontal surgeryapple tree prunings
23printer/ironing cartwindow rainbowyard waste bin
24banana breadssome pruningrotten beams
25seven masksmotion lightfrozen blueberries
26dried mushroomslawn mowedyard waste bin
27frozen mushroomssome more pruning
yard waste bin
286 more masksgreen onions plantedyard waste bin
2912 maskspeas protectedrecycle bin
3010 more masksprinter interfaceyard waste bin
3121 more masksbird netting peasrecycle bin
32tiny drawingsharvest pea greensyard waste bin
33green CYRK lionharvest sunnie greensrecycle bin
3435 masks cut outplanted tomato startsyard waste bin
35red CYRK lionstarted arugula/cilantroyard waste bin
36dog blockprint Jadeplanted bok choy startsrecycle bin
3738 masks sewnharvest pea greensyard waste bin
38drawing for Micheleplanted kalerecycle bin
39key lime curd
apple tree pruned yard waste bin
40collageapples thinnedrecycle bin
41strawberry rhubarb aphids soapedrotted trim bits
42lemon curdpeas harvestedold underwindow
43coin pursepea plants pulleddead cold-packs
44Heather maskmoar peas pickedyard waste bin
45Kestrel apronsage prunedrecycle bin
46floral blousesome plum pruningfavorite saucepan
47clothespin bedcut unruly rose canesoven door glass
482 Barb masksall the taxes doneyard waste bin
49micro quiltpruned grapevineyard waste bin
50tiny mattress removed comfreyrecycle bin
51orange curdfilled planters yard waste bin
52mini mosaic tabletransplants in recycle bin
535 Gods blocklight bulbs replacedyard waste bin
545½ pints rhubarb saucebox fan cleanedrecycle bin
5520 masks for Tulliabox fan cleanedrecycle bin
56 blueberry sauce rosemary prunedyard waste bin
573 8oz jars bramble syrupbox fan cleanedyard waste bin
58turquoise linen pinaforeorganise new paint recycle bin
592 more masksremoved oven doorknitting set
60tiny Nandinaclean bedroom screenmoar cardboard!

overflow SMART goals!!!
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
61 Nandina shoesclean studio screens -
62 Nandina overalls 10# plums processed -
63 grey linen pinafore felt cover exhaust fan -
64 deerskin pouch doors taped closed -
65 bone needle case 15# plums processed -
66 3 jars applesauce some tomatoes dried -
67 2 jars marmaladeunderwindow foam + tape -
68 3 aprons for Mud Bay many pears dried -
69 Kestrel mask wanda plum pruned -
70 7 pints of plums some apple pruning -
71 2 pints plum syrup begin plum pruning -
72 tiny knitting restring beads
-
73 tiny knitting bowl 4 Gigi shirts
-
74 book cloth Nandina's nose -
75 Nandina clothing worm bin rebedded -
76 scribal sketchbook dainties bag patched -
77 scroll for Countess E - -
78 tiny knitting bag - -
79 tiny tote bag - -
80 Nandina handknit - -
81 Nandina sunhat - -
82 tiny knitting book - -
83 Nandina clothing - -
84 tiny basket - -
85 another tiny rag doll - -
86 Noro cowl - -
88 applesauce made - -
89 blackberry syrup - -
90 Gwen sunhat - -
91 dozen EQUITY prints - -
92 tiny deer hat - -
93 Gwen knit cardigan - -
94 Nandina coat - -
95 Nandina boots - -
96 Nandina felt skirt - -
97 Nandina red clogs - -
98 8 jars plum sauce - -
99 5 plaid dishtowels
- -
100 2 new aprons
- -
101 2 floral dishtowels
- -
102 3 potholders
- -
103 tiny patchwork - -
104 2 Kiki biscornu - -
105 2 sample masks - -
106 spiral tea towel - -
107 new spice rack - -
108 10 wire stitch markers - -
109 dawnlight partlet - -
110 wall caddy - -
111 navy mushroom top - -
112 - - -

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

wishful Wednesday - need more data

in which our plucky heroine somewhat futilely attempts to generate forward momentum...

It has been a difficult few days, still no real information about how my Mom is doing. I phoned the rehab place today to try and get some idea about what her plan of care is intended to be, what room she is in, if I can mail things to her, and if we can set up some video calls in the future. Dad said he spoke with her briefly? I do not understand why the facility and the staff have not contacted my father with thorough, accurate, and current information about his wife, my mother?? I was able to get her room number, but actual details about her condition and treatment as well as what the schedule there is, requires speaking to the social worker, or the nurses, apparently. I have tried repeatedly (at least five times or more in a day) to phone her in her room there, but there is never any answer. One fears the worst; I had been speaking with my mom at least every other day up until her collapse last week, and she must be wondering if I have abandoned her... My heart remains broken and I am determined to find a way to renew the ability to connect with her. It cannot be good for her to be out of contact with her family
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 80 ~
This is a silly if cheerful thing, the top of my birthday turnip! I decided to put it in a saucer of water like kids do with carrot tops and sure enough, it is growing a turnip top tree...
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SWAP sewing: finished the navy mushroom print turtleneck top... It will look quite fetching with my turquoise pinafore, as well as with either of the denim ones. I wish I could find some more excellent small-scale graphical prints in cotton/lycra.

My idea for the shaped turtleneck collar worked quite well. I measured some RTW ones that fit me comfortably, and used that for the baseline measurement, and added on to the bottom edge a curved addition that I hoped would both fill in the neckline scoop, and also incidentally increase the length of the bottom edge to neatly fit the neckline measurement. Double win! (given that it is a print, the seamlines are not really even visible)
I did make the thumbhole cuffs, which were only slightly annoying to sew. (I am curious if I will end up liking the ability to have integral hand warmers) I did notice that neither of the instructional tutorials I looked at had accurate information about how to correctly align the cuffs to the sleeves. One left that aspect completely off the tutorial, and the other said to align the cuff seam to the underarm seam, which is dead wrong! If you look at where your thumbs are on your arm, and compare that to where your underarm seam runs on a sleeve, it is obvious that the cuff seam (which includes the thumb opening) needs to be offset from the underarm seam!! Rather than guess, I simply tried on the almost completed top, and slid the finished cuffs underneath the sleeves so I could chalk a mark on each one where to place the seams..

Not sure what I will work on next for SWAP 2021. (probably the first thing will be to muck out the sewing/guest room which has turned into more of a scrap/rubbish heap) I need to do some swatching for my knitted cardigan, and the easiest things to sew would be to make up either another top from the other mushroom knit, or more likely some leggings, as we have weeks and weeks of winter yet ahead
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 291:
this is Edgeworthia, growing in Karla's front yard, and not yet blooming...
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I have started soaking the black-eyed peas for Saturday's meal. The greens will be from the kale growing in the salad table. I may make Sister Gigi's Sweet Corn Cakes, if I can find the ingredients (somewhere in the pantry is a can of corn, as the frozen corn is long used up, and I suspect I can substitute masa for cornmeal...)
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
dainties bag patched
yard waste bin
4 spiral tea towel
x
recycle bin
5 new spice rack
x knitting sets
6 10 wire stitch markers
x moar cardboard!
7 dawnlight partlet
x x
8 wall caddy
x x
9 navy mushroom top x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - packages on my doorstep today, including the hard plastic nose pads for my new glasses (thanks to the Nose Pad King shop) as well as two different birthday treats from the B's: a Very Robust insulated travel tumbler, and a set of two teal silicone spatulas, one really large, and one that is probably skinny enough to get inside jars of things.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Monday miscellany

in which our plucky heroine finishes some things, and begins others...

It has been a rough few days, and it isn't over by any means. Mom was transfered to a rehab facility. Fortunately it is close to where my Dad lives, and he was able to see her through a glass door today, when he went over there to bring her some clothing and her eyeglasses. The two times I called over there it was almost impossible to speak with her over the phone, as there was a lot of ambient noise, and her answers were monosyllabic. I remain worried. I hope we can find a way to have her return home safely. I keep myself sane with knitting and other handwork, and watching Ruth Goodman on the BBC historical programming
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observe the proto-cardigan... the yarn I ordered from Iceland on December 2nd arrived on my front porch today! I foresee many pleasurable hours of slow knitting in my future, (even with all those three-color-rows) as I gradually work my way through making a Mandelbrot lopapeysa cardigan.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 79 ~
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Finished knitting the new "dawnlight" partlet (to replace my beloved and long lost "nightsky" partlet). This time I left better notes on Ravelry about the changes I made in the pattern(s) for future reference. I really really like the textural Roman Rib knitting, which is simple but extra cozy, and the border I modified works really well with it... am considering the option of a self designed sweater using the same stitches. As always, midwinter brings with it a great desire to knit!

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beauty in the time of isolation - day 289:
The winter has been fairly mild, and all sorts of flowers are either still blooming, or have begun to bloom. This one is unknown to me, but lovely!
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We just finished up yesterday with our online daily reading aloud group for "The Dark Is Rising", and the consensus was yes for reading aloud continuing, but that once a week or so would be better than daily I was noticing that knowing that there was no reading today gave me a small sad, and concomitant with that, the realisation that knowing that there was a thing happening each day that was contact with other humans was somehow deeply reassuring to me...I am still mulling this over.
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started new navy mushroom knit top for SWAP 2021... cut out the pieces, and once the body and sleeves were stitched together, realised that I ought to have cut the neckline higher, as a turtleneck top usually has a jewel neckline. Since there wasn't enough fabric left to cut a new front panel, I am going to experiment by creating a shaped turtleneck collar, cut deeper in the front. Every project something new is learned...
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
dainties bag patched
yard waste bin
4 spiral tea towel
x
recycle bin
5 new spice rack
x knitting sets
6 10 wire stitch markers
x moar cardboard!
7 dawnlight partlet
x x
8 wall caddy
x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Yesterday my friend Marya brought me black-eyed peas from the grocery, so I am now set to be able to cook the ritual new-year meal. And we actually went out for a walk, all masked up and socially distant but walking around like friends do! I have not done that since maybe sometime a year ago... It felt not-lonely!

Friday, December 25, 2020

Holiday greetings and other Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine wishes joy to all who celebrate





















today's gratitude - all the doctors and nurses and EMT workers, and all those whose lives they help... my mother was transported to hospital last night (not COVID)and while we still do not know what is causing her symptoms, and it is awful being thousands of miles away in the middle of a pandemic, at least I have confidence in her care. Also grateful for modern communication systems that are allowing our family and my friends to stay in contact.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday thoughts

in which our plucky heroine has some wishes arrive on the doorstep, and others seem further away than ever...

Yesterday it was quite exciting to find a new ergonomic and wireless keyboard arrive on the front porch, having it interact with the laptop to make my wee paws happier was one of the least painful tech setup experiences. It was literally "plug and play"! Now my fingers need to learn a new orientation, again, but my understanding is that those sorts of neural activities are actually good for our brains. Rather in the same way that I am oh-so-slowly plinking away at learning to play the harp...
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 285:
The true beauty of the season is the kindness and thought and caring we share with one another... this miniature Viking style 6-board chest,  handmade and hand carved, was made for Nandina by my pal Ursel... actual chest is about 2" tall; it is just perfect, and brought me such delight when I unwrapped it!
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Today I looked at the calendar and realised there is only today and tomorrow until official SWAP sewing starts, and I have done nothing so far other than daydream! There isn't time for me to do any new patterning before Boxing Day, so I am thinking a quick TNT knit pattern; my long sleeve top with a turtleneck collar would be a cozy addition to my winter wardrobe. (I've had this lovely Cotton+Steel navy mushroom print cotton knit aging on my resource shelves for quite a while, and I would rather have it in my wearable rotation...) If I cut out the pieces later today tonight,  then it is only an hour or so to run it up on the serger... of course I have also been doing handstitched cuff bindings on my knit tops, which while adding to the stitch time, also adds in some peaceful slow stitching into my day.
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for quite a few days now, I had been trying to suss out if the return address on my sekrit santa package was some sort of anagram of the senders name... then I was this many days old when it occurred to me to google it. Turns out that "Nadolig Llawen" is Welsh for "Merry Christmas", and not some sekrit code!
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
dainties bag patched
yard waste bin
4 spiral tea towel
x
recycle bin
5 new spice rack
x knitting sets
6 10 wire stitch markers
x moar cardboard!
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - a little help from my friends... (actually more than just a little...)

Monday, December 21, 2020

on the day of sunreturn

in which our plucky heroine cogitates and creates and takes care...

Made it thus far. Another turn around the sun. I've given up on attempting to imagine what the future may hold, since I never imagined a year of isolation... but somehow, if Dame Fortune does not turn her face away  from all of us... there will be a way to patch together bits of beauty and kindness, small paths of connection, and repair and rebuilding.

this beautiful artwork by Jude Hill seems everso appropriate for the day, the season, and the year...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 78 ~
Not sure this counts as creative, but I rearranged the bedroom clothing storage, and now the two larger dressers shifted from vertical tower format to a horizontal base, and the tansu chest has pride of place atop them. This necessitated moving the knitwear tower out of the closet into the bedroom, and I shifted the shoe bench from the foot of the bed to against the wall under the window. Somehow, the same amount of cubic feels more open.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 282:
so, this is a lovely unexpected gift, a wee little handmade chasing hammer. Bill made it and I found it in the care package from the Mud Bay crew, (along with some pretty sock yarn, pens for scribal activity, and some of the best marzipan on the planet, and a photo of yours truly holding the child of the household back when they were a wee infant) I am taking the hammer as a promissory, for the day will come in time when travel to visit friends will again be comparatively safe, and I will again journey northwards to garner hugs and to spend the promised studio time creating wee little chisels and burnishers, like the ones I learned to use when creating the Minoan pendant back in 2019, which may be my masterwork.
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
dainties bag patched
yard waste bin
4 spiral tea towel
x
recycle bin
5 new spice rack
x knitting sets
6 10 wire stitch markers
x moar cardboard!
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - there was Unexpected Birthday Cake! Gersvinda brought me a care package from herself and KaĆ°lin and Ursel, which included an interesting mixture of dollhouse furnishings, Vegetables of Unusual Types and sizes (Giant squash, and the Birthday Turnip) and some individual mini homemade chocolate bundt cakes

Thursday, December 17, 2020

I see you quiver

in which our plucky heroine scales back holiday baking...

A year ago, it was with great anticipation time to start preparing the sweet and savory treats for my Saturnalia guests... This year has been beyond anything imaginable, and there is no real need for me to be busily bustling about the kitchen. There will still be some seasonal cookery - I want to make candied citrus peel so I can send some to my father, and may consider if I want to make the very smallest of fruitcakes for 12th Night...

Reading this article clarified for me the importance of having "things to look forward to". Being robbed of the opportunity of our regular anticipations is a hard hard thing  (even moreso for my Aged Parents), and finding small future-possible joys is an ongoing effort
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Andy Goldsworthy does not disappoint, ever... lots of gorgeous winter sculptures here
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Looking up the ketchup recipe (since my persimmons are ripe enough that I'm thinking a batch of smokey barbeque sauce might be a good use), when I noticed grape ketchup on the very next page??? How did I miss this possible use for Feral Grapevine's fruit... maybe 2021 will be a chance to try it out.
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
dainties bag patched
yard waste bin
4 spiral tea towel
x
recycle bin
5 new spice rack
x knitting sets
6 10 wire stitch markers
x moar cardboard!
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - My mother taught me how to knit when I was five, but my developing patience was a much more extensive timeline. Replacing my beloved Nightsky Partlet is a creative challenge for sure! I have been trying to get a similar shaping to whatever I did prior (which was one of those accidentally perfect lucky guesses, which I did not bother to write down) Hoping for third time is the charm, since my first try was too straight, my second time which I almost finished last night was too ruffle-y, and I have to tink* back about five or six repeats and try again... sigh. I may have it done by the time my yarn-from-Iceland arrives for the new fractal cardigan...

*tink = un-knit (as opposed to "frogging")

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Green is today's color...

in which our plucky heroine is informed that it is "Collard Week"...

well that was a successful experiment... I wanted to find a substitute for spinach, given the recent news about possible contamination, and decided to try collard greens instead, thinking that since collards are closest to the ancestral cole crop, and that since they are large and flat, prepping them for the project would be easy. (I steamed and blanched the greens before finely chopping them) A slight change in texture, but the "spinach rice bake" of my childhood turned out quite well; having the green portion be a bit more prominent wasn't troublesome, but instead rather toothsome! (and I was pleased that collards are nowhere near as bitter as kale!)
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 77 ~
I made new stitch markers for my knitting... I have in the past used pieces of yarn tied in a circle, or plastic washers, or the odd bulb shaped safety pins intended as markers, but I saw some clever wire markers online and thought "self... you have wire of various sorts and gauges, you have pliers... go forth and make some and see if you like that style instead..." And I do. Looking at them now, I am also put in mind of making earrings in a similar somewhat forged shape... hmmmm...
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I want to try this headscarf pattern, since it appears like it would be a tidy fit underneath a bike helmet, and would be another sort of keep the head warm layer in the wintertime
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 277:

moss grid
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
dainties bag patched
yard waste bin
4 spiral tea towel

recycle bin
5 new spice rack
- knitting sets
6 10 wire stitch markers
x moar cardboard!
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - enough is as good as a feast... I have enough food, a mostly sound place to live, and people who love me. I have been lucky enough to survive this long... My family is focusing on kindness in this hard time. Enough is as good as a feast

Monday, December 14, 2020

Monday miscellany

in which our plucky heroine wakes up extra early...
In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
Every weekend now we have a siblings and spouses zoom, at what is currently "o'dark-thirty" on Sunday morning. For some reason this bit of poetic doggrel was running through my head that morning. It was pitch black when my alarm went off. I have a very vivid memory of the illustration that went along with that poem
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 76 ~
A handy herb and spice jar shelf... for years now have thought it would be a good thing to keep them handy in the unused space just beneath the upper cupboards, and today, rather than continue to wait for inspiration, or the perfect object on some design blog, I decided to use pieces of what I had on hand. I am getting tired of how cluttered Acorn Cottage has become during the pandemic. I used random wood scraps, and hardware bits, and while it isn't Fine Woodworking , it will hopefully do. Done is better than perfect.
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This undercabinet shelf will work better than my previous arrangement, and free up space on the corner turntable for the jars of oats, and kasha, and rice noodles to move off the countertop. The turntable was full of a lot of little jars of either back stock spices or the kinds of random clobber that kitchens accumulate, and now that bit of countertop can be cleared, and cleaned, and be useable...
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I got to have a video chat with The Aunties, and Auntie Beth gave me a wee bit of a harp lesson. I am one of the testers for the new book that Beth and Ceilidh are writing on how to learn to play the small harp. Since I know very little and have no native musical aptitude, I am a good tester. Eventually my hope is to be able to play simply medieval tunes...
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 276:
holiday lights nearby 
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This article is full of food for thought, and an extended perspective not commonly found... I have a fair amount of agreement with what the writer has to say, if not their clear and experiential perspective...
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
dainties bag patched
yard waste bin
4 spiral tea towel

recycle bin
5 new spice rack
- knitting sets
6 x x moar cardboard!
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - that was quick, my new glasses from Zenni arrived in the mail Saturday morning, just two weeks exactly from when I placed the order. They need a bit of fit-tweaking with my trusty pliers, and I am not sure if I will also need to replace the nosepads (which I often must do because contact allergy). The difference having the correct prescription is noticeable! Now if only the computer glasses and the shopwork glasses will arrive soon as well. EyeBuyDirect didn't think my prescription was correct, so waited two weeks to contact me to ask?

Thursday, December 10, 2020

baby bear's covid mask

in which our plucky heroine perseveres...

I've been experimenting with a different mask pattern, partly because I had a few mask requests, and partially because I keep hoping for something with a good fit around the outside edges and also something that doesn't collapse into my nose and mouth while wearing. One of my online sewing friends has had good luck with this pattern.

The first one I tried in size L was too small. The second one I tried size XL was better, but I feel that getting a good seal is important, and without a nose wire, there were gaps on either side of my beaky nose... So, I added a channel for the wire to the top edge of version 3 and it seems like a win. I will be wearing it outdoors tomorrow when I go out for a walk, as a IRL test. Even if it is cold and rainy, I am going out anyway.

I think that getting a (homemade) mask to fit well is comparably complex to getting a good fit in a bra. Each person's face is not only itself a different width and depth, but also has both different contours in different directions, and different proportions and sizes... some have higher cheekbones, some have larger or smaller chins, noses vary widely in size/shape/depth, etc... Experimentation is the only way to find options that work for a particular face. I already know that while my head is not excessively large in circumference, my face is wider than average; I had similar difficulty in finding a good selection of eyeglasses frames.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 272:

white camellia
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 75 ~
I took the cuff of my worn out Miyazaki sock and turned it into two biscornu, to be used as miniature floor cushions. The one I sent next door got me a delighted text message saying that Samie and Gwen love Kiki's Delivery Service!
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 2 sample masks
- yard waste bin
4 - - recycle bin
5 -- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I suggested a read-aloud to my Madrona Tribe pals, and we have six people that are will be taking turns each day reading a chapter (and I am not the only one who loves Susan Cooper's writing). We are reading The Dark Is Rising, as was a tradition in a household I lived in years ago, to read aloud in the Solstice season. Yesterday Mickey volunteered to read, and I was so delighted and charmed with how wonderfully he reads aloud, and can change his voice to suit the different characters. It was a treat.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Monday miscellany

in which our plucky heroine reaches for equanimity...

It was a rough weekend, unexpectedly dealing with family issues from thousands of miles away. The pandemic makes everything more difficult, but hopefully some modicum of positive change will be forthcoming...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 74 ~
Tiny 3/4" squares, a patchwork dolly quilt for Kestrel, using scraps from garments I've made for her this year. I'm going to send Xanthy, and the felt sheep, and an assortment of other miniatures to her for her dollhouse. I am starting to think that actually scheduling creative time into a specific part of my day, rather than letting it arise organically may be a good idea. I tend to spend much of my day slowly moving through ADL, and trying to make sure I fit in a walk outdoors whenever possible, and while those things are part of living, they are not the sum total of my life...
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these two books about navigating the changes that aging brings to us all, seemed very useful the last time I read through them, and it feels like time to revisit them again... The Art of Dying Well, and Advice for Future Corpses have been put on hold at the library e-book list
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 269:
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early in March, whilst doing the massive shopping with which I began the pandemic isolation, there was no powdered milk left in the shops, but I managed to find some powdered buttermilk that had been overlooked. This has proved a very useful staple indeed, particularly since while I have stopped drinking wet-milk as a beverage, it is often called for as an ingredient, but dry buttermilk works quite well when reconstituted, or simply mixed into the dry ingredients for things like tea cake. I used the last of the canned pumpkin, mixed with some fresh persimmon, to make a gifty tea cake for the neighbors...
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 tiny patchwork
Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 2 Kiki biscornu
worm bin rebedded
yard waste bin
3 -- -
4 - - -
5 -- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I saved the old instruction pamphlets for this years IRS forms, which gave me great satisfaction to tear to shreds into worm bedding... which will then turn into compost eventually... the worms were grateful for the improved habitat!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

"Proficere lente sed proficere" *

in which our plucky heroine shifts the balance...

A tiny bit better today, in some ways... I did spend some time picking up the fabric scraps in the sewing space. Four grocery sacks full and I am not done yet! I figure that containing various areas of "mess" is a start. Once that is done, I can begin to sort/discard/organise. After making such good progress for years, it is a bit disheartening to see how quickly chaos takes hold again.

Several friends are dealing with the estates of elderly relatives currently, and I have no wish to leave (at some hopefully distant time) huge amounts of detritus for someone else to cope with. Perhaps I can turn on some loud music and keep at it every day, in the same way that I want to be sure to add in both physical movement and creativity back into my everyday. If I have a goal or goals, making my incremental actions move me towards them is both necessary and good
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 73 ~
Nandina is being silly here, wearing my leather thimble like a tall hat! I used it earlier in today when I did some facial reconstruction, and also reshaped her hairline. I had tried a few weeks earlier to add some shaping to her face, but she told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to give her a proper nose. So I did, which was a bit of a challenge to integrate with her face and look good. Fortunately I found a scrap of the same chambray I used initially, and once I stitched it in place, her forceful personality was much more obvious and she was most pleased. 
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 - Nandina's nose
recycle bin
2 --yard waste bin
3 -- -
4 - - -
5 -- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the local farm just south of here that grew the lamb that now resides in pieces in my freezer. I thawed out a slice, and it made a tender and flavorful supper, combined with yesterdays roasted potato and some nice fresh coleslaw

* Latin - "incremental progress is still progress"

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

cold hands warm heart

in which our plucky heroine warmed by kindnesses...

My friends love me. I got birthday checks. I turned up the furnace today, all the way to 65! and it was delightful to not be all shivery. I put my Solitary Foxen back in the drawer, and put on a pretty necklace instead. Not that my special scarf isn't also pretty, but even my Dad on Zoom asked me why I was all bundled up first thing this morning...
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I'm still not sure what I will be making for SWAP 2021, but since this years rules state "These garments may or may not co-ordinate with each other, but should dovetail into your existing wardrobe"  I'm not much worried. I seem to be incapable of making things that don't coordinate, since I only have five basic colors in my wardrobe, and I am only going to make six garments, not eleven. I don't need eleven new garments this year.

Not sure if I will in fact knit a cardigan, but I did bribe myself and ordered both a new knitting pattern AND new yarn to go with it. I chose the gorgeous new lopapeysa-style pattern "Mandelbrot" (designed to evoke the concept of fractals)
and picked out some chocolate brown Lettlopi for the main color, with black sheep off black, a deep turquoise, and a murky taupe for the patterning... I always feel a bit planetary when I order yarn from afar, this is coming from Iceland!  Why mostly brown yarn?... because I have two brown pinafores, and no knitted sweater to coordinate. Last year, for the first time in decades, I knit myself two wool sweaters: an indigo lopapeysa in a modern design, and a V-neck pullover in "galaxy" a kind of dark dark turquoise/black oilslick color, and I have enjoyed wearing them very much
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 264:

tiny iconic autumnal glory
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In answering Acantha's recent query, I realised that one thing I really want is a regular (weekly?) circle of (mutual aid human contact) support and accountability... checking in with one another on how projects are going, what progress has been made... several folks expressed interest. I'd like to facilitate this happening, either on FB or on some other venue (Zoom, Google Meet, Discord, or ??) and sooner rather than weeks from now.

I am really struggling with getting any forward momentum (other than managing the activity of daily living such as getting dressed, cooking and eating meals, etc.) House has backslid something fierce into a cluttered mess. etc etc. I have Crafternoon, which is more of a social hangout time, and multiple family zoom meetings each week, but what I really really want is a chance to check in regularly with a kind of a progress report, in a more "interactive" way than writing my blog posts. Thinking more like a support group for creativity and constructive action, where folks can take turns ....
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today's gratitude - Today when Heather was shopping for me, she found two more turkey thighs! I am going to be able to have two more roulade-roasts later on this year. Yum yum yum!